How to fit a gas station into Brooklyn

Published March 3, 2016 in Development

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Gate Petroleum Co.’s proposed Brooklyn store will occupy a 1.87-acre site bounded by Forest Street, Park Street, Chelsea Street and Edison Avenue. According to a recent Jax Daily Record article, the company would like the Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) approve deviations concerning building setbacks, entrances, off-street parking and transparency requirements in the Downtown District Regulations of the city’s Zoning Code.

Site plan of proposed Brooklyn gas station.

Proposed Brooklyn gas station site at Forest and Park Streets.

While these deviations go against the idea of Brooklyn developing into a walkable community between downtown and Riverside, they will allow the company to construct a 6,401-square-foot convenience store and gas station with 20 fueling positions and a canopy fronting Park Street. In addition, a car wash building would face Forest Street, the new gateway into Brooklyn and downtown from I-10. The interior of the site will feature 26 parking spaces and outdoor seating for a store that includes a Yobe frozen yogurt shop. The description provided by the Jax Daily Record article suggests that the Brooklyn station could have a similar layout to the chain's new store and gas station near I-295 East Beltway and Town Center Parkway.

Considering plans are currently conceptual, now is a great time to share a few examples of gas station site layouts designed to fit within similar scaled neighborhoods. Here's quick look at five sites that suggest Brooklyn's walkability does not have to be compromised to incorporate the proposed project into the surrounding landscape.

1. 7-Eleven
State Road 50/Colonial Boulevard at Fern Creek Road
Orlando, FL

This recently built 7-Eleven's layout flips the typical position of a gas station's retail store and automobile fueling lanes. The retail store's entrance on Colonial helps strengthen walkability between the site and surrounding neighborhood. In addition, attractive fencing and landscaping along the sidewalk help to enhance the site's aesthetics.

2. Mixed-Use BP Gas Station
West Highland Avenue at I-43/North-South Freeway
Milwaukee, WI

This BP station includes an office component that buffers the auto fueling positions from the street. While we shouldn't expect Gate to turn its gas station into a mixed-use center, this Milwaukee station can serve as a good exampe of squeezing a gas station into a small site within a walkable neighborhood.

3. Turkey Hill Mini Mart
North High Street at West Dodridge Street
Columbus, OH

Columbus is a city that has worked hard to create a pretty compelling urban core and this gas station by Turkey Hill Mini Mart is no exception. Like the previous examples, fueling lanes are located at the rear of the site. Unlike the other examples, the building's facade is design to architecturally add to the historic district it serves. Of interesting note, Turkey Hill Minit Markets, is a chain of more than 260 gas station convenience stores in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, owned and operated by Kroger. Despite the chain's size, the company was still willing to work the the surrounding community to place a product that adds to its surroundings.

4. 7-Eleven - Downtown
Main, State and Union Streets
Jacksonville, FL

Believe it or not, you don't have to leave Jacksonville's city limits to find a few recent examples of decently designed gas stations within the urban core.  Main Street's 7-Eleven features a design where its retail store is positioned to embrace the sidewalks on Main and Union Streets.

5. Daily's - San Marco
Atlantic Boulevard at Farrugut Place
Jacksonville, FL

San Marco's new Daily's at Atlantic Boulevard and Farrugut Place is also worth a look. Like Gate's proposed Brooklyn location, it includes a quick service eatery as well. However, instead of setting the retail store back from the street, the design allows for a covered outdoor dining area directly facing and accessible from Atlantic Boulevard's sidewalk.

Stealing a line from Alvin Brown and considering the examples above, what would you suggest Gate and the DDRB do to ensure their project helps take Brooklyn to the next level?

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at

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